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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Timothy 3

Verse 1

2 Timothy 3:1 . Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε , but know this ) The apostle’s statement is quite distinct, 1 Timothy 4:1 . ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις , in the last days ) which had at that time begun to be, 2 Timothy 3:5 , at the end. A similar expression is found at 2 Peter 3:3 ; Jude 1:18 . ἐνστήσονται ) shall come unexpectedly. The future, in respect of prophecies that had gone before. καιροὶ χαλεποὶ , perilous times ) when it will be difficult to discover what should be done.

Verse 2

2 Timothy 3:2 . Ἔσονται οἱ ἄνθρωποι , men shall be ) Such shall be of higher rank and of greater number in the Church than ever formerly: 2 Timothy 3:5 . They shall be worse even than those who had abused the light of nature alone, Romans 1:29 , etc.: where we explain many things in the notes, which are here repeated. φίλαυτοι , lovers of their own selves ) The first root of evil. φιλάργυροι , lovers of money ) The second root. γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς , disobedient to parents ) The character of the times is to be gathered even especially from the manners of the young. ἀχάριστοι , ungrateful ) The obligation of a grateful mind is next to that of filial duty.

Verse 3

2 Timothy 3:3 . Ἀκρατεῖς , ἀνήμεροι , incontinent, fierce ) at once both soft (yielding as to self-indulgence) and hard. ἀφιλάγαθοι , haters of those that are good ) Its contrary is a lover of good , Titus 1:7 , note 3.

Verse 4

2 Timothy 3:4 . Προπετεῖς ) rash, those who are headstrong [Engl. Vers. heady ] in acting, etc. τετυφωμένοι , [ high-minded ] puffed up ) 1 Timothy 6:4 , note; as if a person should be so suffocated with smoke ( τύφω ), that he has no longer power over his mind. Such is the condition to which pride brings men. φιλήδονοι , lovers of pleasure ) An epithet of the Epicureans. Pleasure destroys the love and sense of God. Such are our Epicureans.

Verse 5

2 Timothy 3:5 . Μόρφωσιν ) the outward appearance , not without some internal rudiment of godliness. ἀποτρέπου ) Τρέπεται is said of one who, when he is forced, flees: ἀποτρέπεται , of one who ἀναχωρεῖ , withdraws, and spontaneously shuns any one. Eustath.

Verse 6

2 Timothy 3:6 . Ἐκ τούτων , of these ) See the preceding verse, these ( such ). The expression is clearly demonstrative. οἱ ἐνδύνοντες , they who creep in ) privately. γυναικάρια ) silly women , who are presently described as like those (in 2Ti 3:5 ). ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις , with various or divers lusts ) of the mind and of the flesh: 2 Timothy 4:3 . Even this variety is a source of delight.

Verse 7

2 Timothy 3:7 . Μανθάνοντα , learning ) for the indulgence of curiosity. μηδέποτε , never ) Whence they are easily led captive , 2 Timothy 3:6 .

Verse 8

2 Timothy 3:8 . Ἰαννῆς καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς , Jannes and Jambres ) Euseb., 2 Timothy 1:9 , Præp. Evang., quotes the following passage from Numemius: “Jannes and Jambres, understood to be Egyptian sacred scribes ( ἱερογραμματεῖς , a lower order of priests in Egypt), men of no small skill in magical operations, at the time when the Jews were driven out of the land of Egypt,” etc. Jannes and Jambres were names very well known in Paul’s time; for they were very often mentioned in the ancient books of the Hebrews, as two of the principal magicians among the Egyptians. The very acute Hillerus, according to the Abyssinian language, interprets Jannes , a jester or trickster , and Jambres, a juggler; for he is of opinion, that the appellatives were changed into proper names in the lapse of time. Onom. S., p. 671, 843. Certainly, if they were entirely proper names, we may believe that they were formerly μέσα (terms intermediate between appellatives and proper names), which indicated the profession of the art itself (as well as the person); comp. Acts 13:8 . ἀντέστησαν Μωσῇ , withstood Moses ) by rivalling to some extent his wonders. ἀνθίστανται , resist ) The opposite is, shall suffer persecution , 2 Timothy 3:12 . ἁδοκίμοι ) reprobate, having no power to approve: comp. Romans 1:28 .

Verse 9

2 Timothy 3:9 . Οὐ προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ πλεῖον , they shall proceed no further ) not so as to seduce others, although they themselves, and those like them, shall proceed ( προκόψουσιν ) to worse and worse , 2 Timothy 3:13 . Often malice proceeds deeper down when it cannot extend itself. ἄνοια , folly ) though they may think themselves wise . ἔκδηλος ) brought from ( ἐκ ) concealment into open day . ἡ ἐκείνων , theirs ) Exodus 7:12 ; Exodus 8:18 ; Exodus 9:11 . A very severe punishment is denoted by the moderate expression, used by the apostle in reference to a well-known fact.

Verse 10

2 Timothy 3:10 . Σὺ δὲ , but thou ) An antithesis: so again after new descriptions of evils, 2 Timothy 3:14 , ch. 2 Timothy 4:5 . παρηκολούθηκας , thou hast followed out ) [ fully followed up , traced out and known]. Timothy became the companion of Paul after the persecutions mentioned in this place, Acts 13:50 ; Acts 14:5 ; Acts 14:19 ; Acts 16:3 . This is therefore a well chosen word to employ here, as in Luke 1:3 . So Antiochus concerning his son: “I am persuaded that he, understanding my mind ( παρακολουθοῦντα , following up my mode of thinking); 2Ma 9:27 . τῇ ἀγωγῇ ) ἀγωγὴ , mode of life , Fr. conduite . τῇ προθέσει , purpose ) His purpose for the future follows close after his (present) mode of life; comp. Acts 11:23 , note; and long-suffering follows close after faith , as in Hebrews 6:12 : patience follows close after love , as in 2 Thessalonians 3:5 .

Verse 11

2 Timothy 3:11 . Ἐν Ἀντιοχείᾳ , ἐν Ἰκονίῳ , ἐν Λύστροις , at Antioch, Iconium, Lystra ) Acts 13:14 ; Acts 13:51 ; Acts 14:6 . οἷα ) οἷς shows the weightiness of the matter in hand: 1Ma 5:56 , “he heard the valiant and warlike deeds , οἷα ἐποίησαν , how great were the acts which they did.” οἶους διωγμοὺς , how great persecutions ) The noun repeated after the interposition of another adds perspicuity and weight to what is said. Διωγμὸς and πάθημα are species and genus: persecution is properly, when they drive a man from one city to another, or when they attempt to apprehend him in his flight; but suffering is any calamity in general, for example, when Paul was stoned, etc. ὑπήνεγκα , I endured ) The mark of an apostle. ἐῤῥύσατο , delivered ) Another mark, to be miraculously preserved; Psalms 34:0 (33):17, ἐκ πασῶν τῶν θλίψεων αὐτῶν ἐῤῥύσατο αὐτούς , He delivered them out of all their afflictions . ὁ Κύριος , the Lord ) Christ.

Verse 12

2 Timothy 3:12 . Καὶ πάντες δὲ , yea and all ) all , and they alone. The third mark, to have persecutors; so far should persecution be from being a stumbling-block to any one. At the beginning of persecution , it does not yet appear that that is the mark of an apostle: it at length appears from the help that is afforded, and from the endurance of them. In this, however, is the third mark of an apostle: ὑπομονὴ , patience , is a great thing in the eyes of the apostle; he prefers it to all the others. All other things may be taken from a man, so that he may suffer their utter loss and he himself fall away; but when he has ὑπομονὴ , all things are preserved. Hence Timothy might at the same time gather that he would also suffer persecution. There is a similar transition from Paul to all godly men, ch. 2 Timothy 4:8 . οὶ θέλοντες , those wishing or willing ) Consider therefore whether you are willing; comp. the word wishing (intending), Luke 14:28 . Even a persevering will has a beginning. εὐσεβῶς ζῇν ) to live godly; the whole energy of their life being devoted to Christian piety, Philippians 1:21 . ζῇν , to live ) to pass life, Galatians 2:14 . ἐν Χριστῷ in Christ ) There is no godliness out of Christ Jesus. [ And indeed the world easily wears that mask of religion which depends on itself; but the piety which flourishes directly from Jesus Christ is very hateful, as it was to the old Jews, so to the modern Christians, who are without any token of good . V. g.] διωχθήσονται , shall suffer persecution ) Nor will they indeed refuse it, Galatians 5:11 . They shall proceed to worse and worse, 2 Timothy 3:13 , stands in opposition to this future.

Verse 13

2 Timothy 3:13 . Πονηροὶ , evil men ) The antithesis is godly , 2 Timothy 3:12 . These are πλανώμενοι , with a middle signification, who permit themselves to be seduced . γόητες ) seducers, enchanters , like those of Egypt, 2 Timothy 3:8 . These are πλανῶντες , seducers. προκόψουσιν , shall proceed to) so that no one will persecute them, but they will persecute the godly. πλανῶντες καὶ πλανώμενοι , deceiving and being deceived ) He who has once begun to deceive others, is the less easily able to recover himself from error, and the more easily embraces in turn the errors of others.

Verse 14

2 Timothy 3:14 . Σὺ δὲ , but thou ) Whatever they may do. He takes up again what he began to say at 2 Timothy 3:10 . ἐπιστώθης ) πίστοω , I make sure a thing on the mind: ἐν οἷς ἐπιστώθης , in which thou hast been rendered πιστὸς , faithful and firm (thou hast been assured) [ out of the Scripture , 2 Timothy 3:15 . V. g.] Comp. LXX., Psalms 78:8 ; Psalms 78:37 , where πιστοῦσθαι corresponds to נאמן . εἰδὼς καὶ ὄτι οἶδας , knowing and because thou hast known) A double Ætiology [assigning of a reason; see Append.], of which the first part is to be referred to in those things which thou hast learned, the second to thou hast been rendered faithful (assured). A similar construction, διὰ καὶ ὅτι , occurs, John 2:24-25 : also ἐπιγνοὺς καὶ ὅτι , Acts 22:29 . παρὰ τίνος , from whom) from Paul, an approved teacher, 2 Timothy 3:10-11 .

Verse 15

2 Timothy 3:15 . Καὶ , and ) Even after the death of Paul, Timothy is the more bound to the Scripture. Paul does not bind Timothy to himself alone, but enjoins him who, however grown up, was his son in the faith, to use the Scriptures. They ought to consider this, who are so devoted to their teachers, under whose training they have been once for all brought up, that they admit nothing beyond their circle which is afterwards presented to them from Scripture. Sometimes slothful over-fulness of the mind and αὐθάδεια , self-complacency , creep over men under the name of stedfastness (steadiness) and sobriety. ἀπὸ βρέφους , from childhood [ a child ]) Tender age is best adapted for πιστοῦσθαι , being made faithful (assured), so that faith may be impressed upon it, diffusing firmness throughout the whole life. τὰ ἱερὰ γράμματα , the sacred Scriptures ) the books of Moses and the prophets. For these existed when Timothy was a child. οἶδας , thou hast known ) by the instructions of thy mother, ch. 2 Timothy 1:5 . τὰ δυνάμενα , which were able ) The force of a preterite redounds from thou hast known , to the participle. This ability (of Scripture) expresses (its) sufficiency and perfection. σὲ , thee ) in such a way as if they were written for thee alone. σοφίσαι , to make wise ) A grand expression. The antithesis is ἄνοια , folly , 2 Timothy 3:9 . εἰς σωτηρίαν , to salvation ) thy own and that of others. διὰ πίστεως , through faith ) He who does not believe, does not receive wisdom and salvation. Through is construed with salvation .

Verse 16

2 Timothy 3:16 . Πᾶσα γραφὴ , all Scripture ) The sacred Scripture, in all its parts. All the latest epistles of Paul as much as possible recommend the Scripture. θεόπνευστος , given by inspiration o God ) This is a part, not of the subject (for what Scripture or class of writings [as Scripture means] Paul intends, is evident in itself, as elsewhere, so in this passage), but of the predicate. It was divinely inspired , not merely while it was written, God breathing through the writers; but also, whilst it is being read, God breathing through the Scripture, and the Scripture breathing Him [He being their very breath]. Hence it is so profitable . πρὸς διδασκαλίαν , for doctrine ) Doctrine instructs the ignorant; reproof convinces also those who are labouring under error and under prejudice; correction recalls a man from wrong (obliquity) to right (rectitude): training [‘eruditio,’ Engl. Vers. instruction] in righteousness positively instructs; ch. 2 Timothy 2:24 ; Sir 18:13 .

Verse 17

2 Timothy 3:17 . Ἄρτιος may be perfect ) in his duty. ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος , the man of God ) 1 Timothy 6:11 , note. πρὸς πᾶν , for every good work ) These kinds of such works are enumerated, 2 Timothy 3:16 . For the man of God ought to teach, reprove, correct, train or instruct; comp. 2 Timothy 4:2 . ἐξηρτισμένος , thoroughly fitted or perfected [ furnished ]) by Scripture. He ought ἐξαρτίζεσθαι , to be thoroughly perfected , then he will be ἄρτιος , perfect. To become and to be differ.

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.